DearSA welcomes the announcement by Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla to extend public comment on the proposed amendments to the National Health Act regulations. Comments will now close on 5 July 2022, which amounts to an extension of three months.
This announcement by the Minister comes after DearSA sent a communication to the Department of Health asking for an extension of the commentary period due to the flawed public participation process. Several other organisations similarly expressed strong concerns about the process and the contents of the proposed regulatory amendments.
“DearSA sees this as a victory for all of civil society. And is proof that public pressure from civil society organisations safeguards our democratic processes. We call on all active citizens who have not yet had their say to submit their comments on the NHA regulations. Their input is vital in determining the shape of the regulations and whether or not it will be accepted or rejected.” Said Rob Hutchinson, Chairman of DearSA.
In addition to the request for an extension of the comment period, DearSA also outlined our concerns about:
- The original commentary period of only 30 days is unreasonable and unjustifiable. It is not an adequately long time considering the voluminous nature of the regulations.
- Members of the public raised concerns that they received notification that their submissions were deleted without being read.
- The proposed regulations are ultra vires.
“There are serious concerns about how the government handled this public participation process. Especially the lack of transparency and the unreasonable nature of the timeframes. Extending the commentary period is a step in the right direction, and we welcome it. But we remain concerned about the implications for future public participation processes.” Said Gideon Joubert, DearSA CEO.
DearSA delivered 283 436 individual comments to the government. Of these 96.1% of commenters outright rejected the proposed amendments, 1.18% supported the amendments, and 2.72% did not fully support them.
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